Western Folklife Center Presents Bluegrass Duo Growling Old Men with Leon Hunt

For Immediate Release: July 3, 2012
Contact: Darcy Minter, 775.340.4240
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Western Folklife Center Presents Bluegrass
Duo Growling Old Men with Leon Hunt July 12

Elko, Nevada—Bluegrass duo The Growling Old Men with English banjo wizard Leon Hunt will provide a feast of international collaboration on traditional and original stringband music on Thursday, July 12 at the Western Folklife Center’s G Three Bar Theater. The concert starts at 7:00 pm; doors open at 6:00 pm. The Pioneer Saloon will feature specialty microbrews from northeast Nevada's own Ruby Mountain Brewing Company, with Brewmasters Steve and Maggie Safford. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $8 for Western Folklife Center members, students and seniors. Tickets will be available in advance at the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop at 501 Railroad Street, Elko, or at the door the night of the event.

The Growling Old Men are Ben Winship (mandolin & vocals) and John Lowell (guitar & vocals)—both veterans of the Northern Rockies’ acoustic music world, who have been performing and recording together since 1998. “Not so old, not so growly,” said Garrison Keillor on A Prairie Home Companion, “they're great…, a real fine bluegrass duo." Together the duo present a tight, yet relaxed set of original and traditional bluegrass songs, ballads and tunes informed equally by the music of the Appalachian hills and the western plains.

Leon Hunt is widely regarded as the finest banjo player in England. Not one to be hemmed in by stylistic borders, he is equally at home playing traditional Celtic tunes, jazz and bluegrass. “Banjo wizardry in a style totally unique,” says Mike Harding of BBC Radio, “Leon plays with brilliance and soul—you don't always find the two together.” Hunt brings an improvisational flair to the duo’s solid foundation that is at once complimentary and inspiring.

In concert the Growling Old Men are engaging and spontaneous. Their shows include a blend of well-rehearsed material and new songs hot off the press—they like to walk the edge of improvisational risk-taking. The duo strives to contrast simplicity with complexity, all with good tone and a warm sense of humor.

Festivals, concerts and workshops have led these minstrels both near and far—from hometown cafes to A Prairie Home Companion, from Canada to the Shetland Islands. In 1998 the self-titled CD Growling Old Men was released, followed by Occupational Hazards in 2005. Shuttle Diplomacy was recorded in 2008 on both sides of the Atlantic and is a collaboration with Leon Hunt. Their song “Madison Brown” was featured on the Western Folklife Center CD Songs from Yellowstone and the Tetons.

For more information about Ben Winship, John Lowell and Leon Hunt, visit the Western Folklife Center’s website at www.westernfolklife.org.

This concert is supported by the Nevada Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Union Pacific Foundation. For more information, contact us at 775-738-7508.

The mission of the Western Folklife Center is to enhance the vitality of American life through the experience, understanding, and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the American West.